Cultural News

Finalist Katherine Mansfield Awards

Monday 21st of November 2016:

Joining the dots between Varvara Sidorenko and Katherine Mansfield


The wind picked up. The pages fluttered. My grandmother packed her suitcase and flew through half the sky, pulling her son after her as though they were stuck together, stretching the paper trails through the clouds like a path to another world. She spoke no English. Hadn’t worked for forty years. She was afraid.


This is an extract from Varvara Sidorenko’s creative writing piece on her grandmother.  With it, Varvara was chosen as a finalist for the Katherine Mansfield Sh ort Story Award, which was held in the National Library on Tuesday 18 October.  I was attending the function as well, and was so excited that I was ready to go an hour earlier than I needed to be.


The judge was Mandy Hager, sister of Nicky Hager who visited Solway College the previous week, and the money for the award was bequeathed by a person called Gay Saker.  Gay had died three years previously, and so her son spoke on her behalf.  Interestingly enough,

Gay Nimmo, as she was known then, had been a student at Solway College during the war years, and had loved it so much that when her family suggested that she leave, she had insisted that she not.  She ended up being Head Prefect, greatly inspired by the principal of the time, Marion Thompson.


Varvara did not actually win the award, but she won a number of other things: experience, congratulations, and the opportunity to meet new people, among them.


Claire Hunt